Dr. Dale M. Yocum
“A Champion of the Holy Way”
October 19, 1919 – May 10, 1987
On October 19, 1919, the little town of Bynumville, MO grew by two. Dale and Dorothy were born to Delmar and Olive Yocum. The twins joined two sisters and one brother to make up a lively, happy farm family.
Little did the people of the town know the impact that little baby Dale was to make on the world. Almost from infancy, Dale Morris Yocum seemed to sense the wisdom of submitting to the authority of his parents as they instructed him in behavior and values based upon Scriptures which were faithfully taught. Consequently, as a very young child, Dale gave his heart to God after a sermon preached by his great uncle from the text in John 6:9, “there is a lad here …”
In his late teens, during a mid-week prayer service, he experienced the Holy Spirit’s cleansing power in entire sanctification. From that moment until the moment of his death May 10, 1987, at the age of 67, he dedicated his life to the work of God’s kingdom.
Dale finished grade school and high school in the Bynumville Public Schools, then enrolled in college at Northeast Missouri State Teacher’s College In Kirksville [now Truman State]. At first, he experienced such severe homesickness that he felt he wanted no more in life than to go back to the farm and stay there forever. However, with his characteristic self-discipline and dependence on God, he stuck to the task and completed his course earning a bachelor’s degree in science.
During WW II, Dale entered the Army Air Corps. He received his master’s degree in Meteorology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge [he was valedictorian of his class]. He then served as a weather officer at several bases, including Hickam Field in Hawaii. He retired from the Air Force Reserve in 1979 with the rank Lt. Colonel.
When the war and active military duty ended, he wrote his parents about his interest in making the Air Force his career. In reply, his mother reminded him that she had prayed before his birth that if God would give her twins, she would raise them and give them back to Him for full-time Christian service. She reminded Dale that he did not come into the world to serve the Air Force but to serve the Lord in spreading the glorious gospel. Through this, God spoke to Dale. He knelt in his quarters and accepted the call from God to Christian service.
Now that the direction in his life had changed, he came to Kansas City College and Bible School in Overland Park, KS to serve as Academic Dean and Dean of Students. He held this position from 1948 to 1968. During this time he also took courses to prepare himself for God’s work. He took an interest in a young student by the name of Ilene Dockum. In his role as Dean of Students, he found it wise to use great caution in granting this young lady permission to have dates with other young men, and eventually he claimed her for his bride.
He married Ilene on July 2, 1948, in the basement of the KCCBS chapel (that later became the library). To this union was born two daughters. Phyllis Marie was born on December 8, 1949. Carmen Joyce arrived on October 13, 1955. In spite of a busy life working at Kansas City College and Bible School and raising a family, he also managed to earn a doctorate in education from the University of Kansas in 1957.
As a father and husband, Dale was careful to take time for his family. Though life in a parsonage was always busy, Monday nights were set aside as “Family Night”. On those nights, barring real emergency, he belonged to the ladies of his home. Many hours were spent playing together, learning together, making music and memories. Summer vacations were planned and taken together. Even travel to preaching appointments proved to be times of enjoyable learning. Dr. Yocum used his gift of teaching to give his girls lessons in logic, mathematics, astronomy, vocabulary, and many other fields of knowledge. He tried always to impart a love for exploring, thinking, and finding the truth. Dale and Ilene also made top priority the job of making God real in the home. They made a family effort to know and use God’s Word. They desired to put spiritual values first. Before his death he began to form the same pattern of nurturing his grandchildren. They knew that if no one else seemed to know the answer to a question, Grandpa Yocum likely would.
Bro. Yocum became an outstanding person early in life. His disciplined, Spirit-filled life was an inspiration to all who knew him. His example was a safe guide for all to follow. The consistency which characterized his life made him a pillar in the Church. His passion and vision brought an enthusiasm into everything he did. Nothing was ever done halfway. He became a scholar and a trusted authority in all aspects of Christian living. He excelled for God.
He possessed a logical mind and a disciplined will. His mind and his will were both fixed on serving God and helping mankind. His iron determination to excel drove him beyond the limits reached or expected by ordinary men. He was exacting on himself but he also expected much from his students and parishioners. He was clear, logical and thorough in his preparation to teach. As a preacher he was outstanding and in great demand.
Great men do not always choose to minister in places that the world might think are most worthy. Rather, following the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit they at times choose to do His work in small or unknown areas. Dr. Yocum followed this pattern and ministered to the small, the large, the country and the city churches. His pastoral duties included ministry at Reform, MO; Columbia, MO; Butler, MO; Overland Park, KS; Topeka, KS; and South Park (Kansas City), KS. One of his parishoners once said, “Every sermon he preaches at our church is a masterpiece.”
Dr. Yocum’s world vision would not let him rest until the gospel of Jesus Christ was carried as far as possible into all the “regions beyond.” Dale Yocum had a zeal for soul winning. This inclination led him to minister as an evangelist. In this capacity he was powerfully used of God. He was known, respected, and used by many holiness denominations. This same zeal to win souls for Jesus took him to Jamaica and then Korea to do missionary work. While in South Korea, in 1968 and then later from 1971 through 1975 he worked with the Jesus Korea Holiness Church teaching in the seminary and preaching in various churches on the weekends. He took the message of holiness across the nation, and to Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Ireland, Guatemala and 16 other nations of the world. The message he once carried in person is still being carried through his students and the tapes and 15 books he authored. (Many more volumes were published by his wife following his death)
Dr. Yocum served on the World Missions Board for the Churches of God (Holiness). Beyond this, he was the co-founder of a cooperative mission sending organization. He continued to work with Friends of Missions until his death. The organization continued until it finally merged with Evangelistic Faith Missions in 2001.
Dr. Yocum served as president of Kansas City College and Bible School from 1969 to 1971. He felt that perhaps God had allowed him to be away from the school for a time so that he could be a minister of healing. He had a great dislike for dissension. He was a peacemaker but even so, he refused to compromise his principles. He was approachable never being too busy to say hello. Students and family were always welcome when they stopped in his office. He was never known to treat anyone in an un-Christlike manner.
Soon after he received the doctor’s diagnosis of terminal cancer in 1986, he told his family that if God did not heal him, it was perhaps because God was ready for him to begin his eternal assignment. When asked what sort of thing that might be, he said with a smile, “Well, I really don’t know. But think, for example, of all the babies who have died and gone to heaven without knowing about Jesus, His love, and what the plan for salvation was all about. Perhaps God will allow me to teach a group of babies a class in theology.” In the last weeks of his illness, Dr. Yocum found comfort and blessing in the book Don’t Waste Your Sorrows by Paul Billheimer. This paragraph was especially meaningful:
“It often seems that when some people have … arrived at the peak of their usefulness, here God takes them to heaven … This makes no sense unless God’s purpose in life is to prepare him not primarily for service in time, but for God’s eternal enterprises … When God has achieved this, there is little point in leaving him on earth longer.”
Dale M Yocum was a Christian soldier, patriotic statesman, a profound scholar, a prolific writer (see Books by Dr. Yocum ) and a powerful preacher. He was faithful to his heritage from godly parents and the conservative way of holiness. He was consistent in a deeply devotional life. He was a constant challenge and inspiration to his peers. He can truly be called “A Champion of the Holy Way.” The holiness movement was blessed to know this hero of holiness!
Thanks to Carmen and Phyllis (Dale Yocum’s daughters) for helping me with information for the biography) Some of the content was also borrowed from the program of the dedication of the Yocum Center in Scottsville, TX.
To read about the dedication of the Dale M. Yocum Memorial Library, click here.
Books written by Dr. Dale M. Yocum.
– Dr. Gayle Woods